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Talk, Talk, Talk!

Using a talk radio show to advertise

What is it that allows someone to take the credentials of being an expert? In some vocations, such as a medical doctor, it can take many years of education and practice. And to the consumer, the credentials are easy to see - beginning with the designation added to their name and the many framed degrees hanging on their office wall. Doctors, pharmacists, and several other vocations have requirements that are mandated by their state government or by their industry, with regard to continuing education.

What about the gift basket industry, as well as any other aspect of retailing? There are not any set credentials mandated by the state. Of course, there are the many classes that you can take at Jubilee. But for the consumer, be it a commercial or individual customer, this is not likely to be something they are going to have first hand knowledge of.

If you were the customer, as compared to being the owner or manager of the business, don't you think you would prefer to do business with someone that was recognized as an expert?

After all, the customer will likely think they are going to get more value for their money. They will likely think the expert will be able to create for them a more beautiful basket. They are probably expecting someone that is up to date on all of the newest trends in the gift industry as well as someone that has very creative ideas.

Isn't this the person or business that you want to be? If so, how can you convey to the customer the message that you are the expert? You could do so by purchasing ads for your business in the many advertising options you have - television, radio, newspaper, direct mail, post cards, or any other creative form of media.

Then again, whatever it is that you say about your business and yourself, we can expect the residential or commercial customer to discount heavily because it is your ad, and you can say just about anything you want about your business.

Instead, we offer an alternative. One in which the media will recognize you as the industry expert, and will make a point to tell all who expose themselves to that media that you are different from all of your competition.

Our suggested alternative is a talk show, be it television or radio. As these two media will require different approaches, let's first take a look at radio. As the number of radio stations has grown throughout the country, there is an increasing amount of formats that have been created as each station has worked to find their unique niche. While not exclusive to the AM band, many stations have gone to various forms of talk radio. There are also many stations, both AM and FM, that have talk shows in time slots that are outside the "drive time" hours of 6am-10am and 4pm-6pm.

While the formats of a talk show will vary, we will speak of three frequently used formats. The first format is where you host a program, usually 30 minutes in length. Business wise, this is a program that is "owned" by the station, and you are the "employee", hosting the show.

As a form of payment you can likely expect that you will be able to have one or two thirty second commercials for your business. The rest of the commercials during your program will be sold by the station to other businesses.

You will be responsible for filling the balance of that half hour with discussion. The discussion cannot be about your business, but you will be able to tell the audience about yourself and the business that you own or manage. Instead, the discussion should focus on gifts - both corporate and individual. You could explain to the listening audience how there are many different and unique options to the many gifts that can traditionally be found in card shops, department stores and other traditional gift shops.

Reading testimonial letters from satisfied givers and recipients allows you to add credibility to the program you are creating. Allowing listeners to call in with questions will not only fill time, but also gain names and contact information for potential customers.

The second format for your "credential advertising" is the "infomercial" in which your business would purchase a block of time from the radio station. The most common length for one of these shows is a half hour. During your time, you do your best to emulate the appearance of the talk show we just discussed. All of the commercials that are played during your half hour will be for your business as that is the moment when you are asking the listener to make the decision of doing business with your business.

Just like the infomercials we have all seen on television, the owner of the program is doing their best to fill the time slot with information about the benefits of the products and services that you offer to your consumer and business customers. As you have seen with infomercials, the show often features one individual as the host along with two or more "guests" who are actually selling the business to the listener.

The third format for our unique form of advertising is where you are a guest for an existing show. This format closely resembles the format from a television talk show. Your local radio or television show probably has a guest during each show, in which the station host would interview you as the guest by asking a series of questions. With most programs the host will allow you to provide them with some advance information about your business so that they can ask the appropriate questions.

Selecting information that will highlight products and services that only your business offers will help to elevate the impression of your business.

Again, this will not be an opportunity for you to sell your business, but instead an opportunity for you to sell yourself as an expert in the gift basket industry. For this appearance, you will not be paid, nor will you likely be having any of your commercials running on the station during your appearance.

However, this will likely be the easiest of the three options as you will not be responsible for creating the scripting for the entire program. This third format is probably the best option for your first radio or television appearance, allowing you to gain a comfortable feeling for the workings of a radio or television station.

Other than the task of deciding the subject material for your interview, your job is to sell the host or producer of the program on why they should invite you to be a guest on their show. Try pitching your business as the answer for the person that is wanting to have a unique gift for Valentines, Mother's Day, a wedding, birthday, or Christmas.

Lastly, if the idea of speaking on a radio or television station is one that you are afraid of, take the time now to locate a local Toastmasters club. Toastmasters is a club with the purpose of helping its' members to improve their speaking skills.

Obviously, the efforts we have just outlined are a lot more than what it would take for you to design an advertisement for any of the traditional forms of media. Just like it takes a lot more for someone to become a medical doctor. And just like the medical field, every industry needs experts. In the gift basket industry, shouldn't it be you?

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This article is copyrighted by Tom Shay and Profits Plus Solutions, who can be reached at: PO Box 1577, St. Petersburg, Fl. 33731. Phone 727-464-2182. It may be printed for an individual to read, but not duplicated or distributed without expressed written consent of the copyright owner.

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Profits Plus Solutions, Inc.
PO Box 1577
St. Petersburg, Fl 33731
(727) 464-2182
Fax: (727) 898-3179